President Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court has earned both praise and scorn. Here are two of the differing opinions on the nomination.
Liberty Counsel — Amy Coney Barrett is an impeccable choice for high court
Judge Amy Coney Barrett will bring irrefutable character, education and experience from her time in private practice, academia and her service on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to serve as Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
President Donald Trump said, “Apart from matters of war and peace, the nomination of a Supreme Court justice is the most important decision an American President can make.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham announced that the hearing to consider the nomination of Judge Barrett will begin Oct. 12. The hearing will last three to four days using the format the committee has followed for recent Supreme Court nominees. Opening statements by Judiciary Committee members and the nominee will occur on Monday, Oct. 12. The questioning of Judge Barrett will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 13 and testimonies by legal experts and those who know her will follow.
After graduating from law school, Judge Barrett clerked for D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Laurence Silberman and for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. She practiced both trial and appellate litigation in Washington, D.C. at Miller, Cassidy, Larroca, & Lewin, and at Baker Botts. Barrett was appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts to sit on the Advisory Committee on Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, where she served from 2010 to 2016.
Since 2017, Judge Barrett has served on the Chicago-based Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after she was nominated by President Trump and confirmed on a bipartisan vote. Leading up to her confirmation, Barrett had the unanimous support of all 49 of her Notre Dame Law colleagues, calling her “a model of the fair, impartial and sympathetic judge ” and who wrote that they had a “wide range of political views” but were “united however in our judgment about Amy.” A bipartisan group of law professors – including those from Harvard and Stanford and other law schools around the country – urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to confirm Judge Barrett to the Seventh Circuit, describing her work as “rigorous, fair-minded, respectful, and constructive.” The American Bar Association rated Judge Barrett as “well qualified” in 2017.
Her confirmation for the court of appeals was supported by all 34 members of her Supreme Court clerk class, including the clerks of Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, O’Connor, Souter and others.
They wrote in agreement: “We are all lawyers who had the privilege of serving as law clerks for the Supreme Court of the United States, along with Professor Amy Coney Barrett, during the Supreme Court’s October Term 1998. After our clerkships, we have had a broad array of work experience from private practice to government service to academia to the business world. We are Democrats, Republicans, and independents, and we have diverse points of view on politics, judicial philosophy, and much else. Yet we all write to support the nomination of Professor Barrett to be a Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Professor Barrett is a woman of remarkable intellect and character. She is eminently qualified for the job. This view is unanimous – every law clerk* from October Term 1998 has joined this letter.” (34 Former Supreme Court Law Clerks, Letter to Sens. Grassley and Feinstein, 5/26/2017)
In an opinion article about Judge Barrett to USA Today, two former law clerks wrote, “Despite her towering intellect, Judge Barrett always took our views seriously. As an academic, she had spent over a decade exploring the intricacies of statutory interpretation and constitutional law. By the time she joined the bench, she hadn’t just studied the various legal theories and normative arguments that underpin legal questions; she had helped shape them. And yet she engaged us with uncommon humility… To put it simply: clerking for Judge Barrett and being able to call her a mentor is an honor, especially as women. The two of us come from different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds. And we don’t see eye-to-eye on every policy or political issue. But we had the same experience with Judge Barrett: we were treated with dignity and respect … Judge Barrett elevated our thinking, writing and character, not by prescription, but simply by being herself. As a Supreme Court Justice, she would be a cherished role model for generations to come.”
After graduating from Rhodes College, Barrett went to law school at Notre Dame on a full-tuition scholarship, earned the law school’s highest honor (the Hoynes Prize), served as executive editor of the law review, and graduated summa cum laude in 1997. She served as a visiting professor at George Washington University Law School before returning to her alma mater in 2002. Barrett taught at Notre Dame Law School for 15 years (2002-2017) prior to becoming a federal judge. She received “Distinguished Professor of the Year” three times with scholarship focused on originalism, stare decisis, and statutory interpretation.
In her nearly three years on the Court of Appeals, Judge Barrett has participated in over 500 cases and has written dozens of majority opinions. She has been involved with three abortion cases, one involving a ban on eugenic discriminatory abortions, another involving the free speech rights of protestors outside abortion clinics, and another involving parental notification.
Judge Barrett has been married for more than 18 years to Jesse Barrett, a partner in a South Bend law firm who spent 13 years as a federal prosecutor in Indiana. They have seven children ranging from ages 16 to five. One daughter was adopted from Haiti at the age of 14 months, weighing just 11 pounds, and was so weak at the time that the Barretts were told she might never walk normally or talk. The Barretts adopted a boy from Haiti after the 2011 earthquake. Their youngest child has Down syndrome.
Barrett, the oldest of seven children, told an audience in Washington, “What greater thing can you do than raise children? That’s where you have your greatest impact on the world.”
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Amy Coney Barrett brings outstanding character and qualifications to fill this important seat as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. She applies the intent and text of the Constitution and the laws she reviews. Judge Barrett should be confirmed as soon as possible.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights — Barrett nomination proves Trump’s commitment to destroy civil and human rights; Senate must not consider a replacement for Justice Ginsburg until after inauguration
Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on President Donald Trump’s announcement that he intends to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States:
“With this nomination, Donald Trump has followed through on his commitment to use our federal courts to advance an agenda that threatens the rights of all. Amy Coney Barrett is the fulfillment of Trump’s threat to nominate an individual who would strip health care away from millions and eviscerate Roe v. Wade. With a demonstrated record against health care, reproductive rights, and on other issues that matter to families and communities, Barrett’s nomination puts our rights and the future of our democracy at stake.
“We are in the middle of a global pandemic that has devastated millions of lives. Trump and Senate Republicans have refused to do anything to alleviate the pain and suffering. They refuse to address the systemic racism and injustice that permeates our society. But they seem determined to rush a Supreme Court nomination despite the fact that people are already voting.
“This is nothing less than an all-out assault on our democracy – and our civil and human rights are hanging in the balance. Justice Ginsburg made sure the high court worked for everyone, not just the rich and powerful. Her replacement should be someone as committed to that ideal as she was. Barrett is not that nominee.
“Senators must allow the people to decide who should select and confirm the next justice. No consideration until after inauguration.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit civilrights.org.